The biggest piece of advice that we can give to any homeowner about their HVAC system is to regularly change its filter. It’s an easy step to do, but also an easy one for people to forget. It might seem like it isn’t a serious problem to leave the filter in place for a few more months, but clogged and dirty air filters are the source of numerous HVAC problems that are otherwise easy to avoid.
When you schedule any maintenance tune-up with our technicians (heating or air conditioning), they’ll change out the filter as part of the service. They can show you where the filter is located and how to change it—it’s easy, trust us! You will need to do the changes yourself until the next maintenance appointment. We recommend checking the filter monthly to see if it’s fully congested. The filter will need to be changed every 1 to 3 months.
What Might Happen If the Filter Isn’t Changed?
Far, far too much! The filter performs the job of stopping debris from entering the HVAC cabinet along with the air drawn through the return air ducts. As the filter becomes dirtier over time, it will restrict airflow into the cabinet. This can lead to several problems:
- Dust and dirt infiltration: A clogged filter can defeat the purpose of the filter! When the filter is dirty and the blower fan must strain to pull air through it, it will distort the filter and allow dust and debris to slip in around the sides. These particles can damage many different parts of the AC and heater.
- Tripped circuit breaker: The pressure put on the blower fan can cause its motor to overheat and trip the circuit breaker to the furnace, shutting down the entire system.
- Overheated heat exchanger: This is a major problem that can occur in a gas furnace. The heat exchanger is the part of the furnace that gets hot to warm up the air pulled through the furnace. If airflow drops because of a clogged filter, it won’t cool down the heat exchanger enough, leading to it overheating and tripping a limit switch that will shut the furnace down.
- Reduced heating/cooling: When less air is allowed to enter the HVAC system, it means a smaller volume of air is heated or cooled. This will likely first show up as hot or cold spots around the house, but the problem will worsen as long as the dirty filter remains in place.
- Higher energy costs: All that extra work placed on the HVAC system fighting against the clogged filter will raise the cost to run the system. You’ll see the results on your utility bills.
- Collapsed filter: In cases of an extremely clogged pleated filter, the filter may collapse from the air pressure and fall into the blower assembly, possibly causing severe damage to it.
We hope we’ve convinced you of the importance of this routine maintenance step. When you need Paoli, PA, HVAC service, no matter the problem, you can depend on our experienced NATE-certified technicians.
Michall Daimion Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. has been the Main Line’s Premier Service Provider since 1976. Call us for all your heating needs this winter.